No Covid-19 certificate? Forget government services

Matatu drivers and stage attendants get vaccinated at Embu Nairobi Stage in Embu town on September 23, 2021. [Muriithi Mugo, Standard]

It will be mandatory for Kenyans to have a coronavirus vaccination certificate to access in-person services in government offices starting December 21.

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, yesterday issued a raft of measures that will make it mandatory for Kenyans to attain the certificate to carry out various activities ahead of the festivity season.

Among the government services that unvaccinated Kenyans will be locked out from include; Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Education, National Transport Service Authority (NTSA), Immigration, hospital and prison visitations and port services among others.

Speaking during a press  briefing, Kagwe, said it will also be mandatory for all drivers, matatu conductors, boda boda riders, pilots, air hostesses and Kenyans working in the transport sector to show proof of full vaccination at all times.

Kagwe, who was accompanied by Tourism CS Najib Balala, further directed that it will be mandatory to show proof of vaccination for admission into National Parks, Game Reserves, hotels, bars and restaurants.

“All businesses serving 50 or more people a day, will be required to put up signage requiring proof of vaccination, before entry into their premises and their patrons should be fully vaccinated,” he said.

He also said all indoor gatherings will be limited to two-thirds capacity with proof of COVID-19 vaccination of all in attendance. 

“We have given time for Kenyans to get the vaccine by December 21. As much as we will enforce these measures, accountability on implementing these measures will lie on individuals,” said Kagwe.

The CS said the review of measures are intended to accelerate vaccination even as the infection rate goes down.

“The Ministry of Health in collaboration with County Governments and other stakeholders will be undertaking a ten-day mass vaccination exercise from November 26, with the aim of administering adequate vaccines to as many people as possible,” said Kagwe.

Tourism CS Balala said hospitality facilities that will not adhere to the directive on COVID-19 vaccination will be penalised.

“The country has been recording a decreasing number of COVID-19 cases countrywide over the last two months, with the positivity rate over the last 14 days ranging from 0.8 to 2.6 per cent,” noted Balala.

According to the CS, implementation of the containment measures has resulted in a decrease in the number of reported severe cases and deaths.

So far, there have been 254,629 COVID-19 confirmed cases since March 2020 and 5,325 deaths within the same period.

“The current decline in the number of new infections may be attributed to a build-up of immunity both through natural exposure to the disease and the ongoing vaccination,” Kagwe said.

In an effort to increase vaccination, Kagwe said teenagers, who are above 15 years, will receive Pfizer vaccine after the pharmacy and Poisons Board was given Emergency Use Authorisation for the administration of Pfizer vaccine as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

Long-term solution

“I direct that we open vaccination of young people with Pfizer from November 23, lowering the applicable age to 15 years and above. The estimated population in this group is approximately 5.7 million,” said the CS.

Kenya is expecting four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine which will be administered to teenagers. 

“Vaccination is a critical pillar in the control of the pandemic as a long-term solution to the prevention of severe cases of the disease, deaths, and an enabler for a return to normalcy. Over 95 per cent of the people who are hospitalised are those who aren’t yet vaccinated,” he added.

So far, Kenya has received 10.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and administered nearly 6.4 million vaccinations.

However, the uptake has been low among the elderly as only 18 per cent have received the jab.